Our Fractured Health Care System

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Good Health is not free!

I have severe arthritis and was put on the list for a surgical hip replacement. I recently was called to the Bone and Joint clinic here in Lethbridge to see when the doctors there would be able to perform the operation. Although the doctors, nurses and general staff were very friendly, efficient and professional, I couldn’t help but feel that I was in a modern-day assembly line. I simply went from here, to there, answered those questions, then shuffled off to the next room to fill out forms, then another room to answer more questions. Very efficient, but there simply was no time allotted anywhere in the procedures to ask the professionals any personal questions!

At the time of this writing, I’m subscribed to a four-day Mindful Health Summit whose aim is to introduce the practice of conscious Mindfulness to healthcare providers in order to help ease the stress load that they experience. Although the summit is primarily directed towards doctors, nurses and the administrative staff in hospitals and clinics, it was interesting and enlightening for me, personally, as a present and future patient, to listen to the speakers and become aware of just how intense our modern-day health providers work under frustrating conditions where they are constantly overworked and understaffed and where burn-out seems a way of life. I have to ask, why? What’s wrong with our health care system, that’s touted to be among the best in the world, yet so inefficient in many ways when dealing with society’s sick?

It can’t be a shortage of qualified people, because I often read articles where highly qualified medical people immigrate to Canada from other countries, but can’t get a job in the medical field, so end up driving taxis. It can’t be a lack of money that’s causing this problem, because, according to a recent CTV News article, health costs Canadians about eleven thousand dollars each, per year! … and here you thought our health care system was free!

On the other hand, in 2011, the total Canadian pharmaceutical market was the world’s eighth largest, representing about 2.6 per cent of global pharmaceutical sales. The Canadian prescription pharmaceutical market was worth an estimated $29 billion in 2013.

That got me thinking. Maybe it’s Big Business that’s very sneakily behind our health care problem. With its well organized, well structured system and extremely well-paid CEOs, it pays them handsomely to keep our health care system in the frustrated state that it is in today. A shortage of health providers creates long waiting lists so people stay sick longer, thus needing more drugs for that longer period of time before they can get real medical help. Burnout of doctors and nurses too often means mistakes are made, leading to law suites (another lucrative source of income for lawyers) thus, because, as a result of these errors, patients often end up on a lifetime need of drugs.

Manufacturers who supply our clinics and hospitals with needed medical supplies—who, by the way, charge quite handsomely for their products—also benefit from people staying sick longer.

Is there a solution?

This prompts me to ask a burning question: considering that it could—and probably is—true what I said above, that Big Pharma/Big Business is behind all this, could this be a good time to ween ourselves from the profiteering drug industry and take the responsibility for our health into our own hands?

It takes effort, I know, because it means taking your health in my own hands, but it’s absolutely worth the benefits: more energy, greater happiness, and a huge decrease in pain and freedom to do many of the things that I couldn’t do before.

In my research for this article I’ve uncovered hundreds of web sites and blogs of specialists who have done just that: become alternative medicine practitioners and have placed your health and welfare—you, the human being—as first priority over profit. Of course, as anyone knows who’s done searches on the Net, there’s a lot of mis-information out there, also, some ideas being even dangerous, so caution is advised. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! One of my favorite search sites for health topics is Healthline at http://www.healthline.com. The articles there are well researched, not skimping on quoting all their information source references, and the articles are written in ‘layman’s English,’ making the information easy to understand. At the end of each topic, they also offer a host of additional sites that you can visit for more, or related information and, a feature I really like, it has only a small, reasonable number of ads on its web pages to distract you.

That’s why I repeat the caution about advertisements on the Net: be careful of what you believe or even bother to read on the Internet. Some sites will cleverly hide their supporter’s ads so well that, unless you’re really ‘wide awake,’ you can easily mistake one of their ads for a medical fact. That’s why I suggest you start with Healthline and work forward from there. It’s a very reliable, fact-based site.

All major religions emphasize that our body is our Temple, and the important role our body plays in our spiritual evolution. In fact, one of my favorite Bible quotes, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, shows that Jesus really stressed the importance of our bodies in our evolution process in Matthew 25, verses 14 to 29, with especial emphasis on verse 29. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” If you read this verse superficially, it doesn’t make much sense. However, if you add just one thought in the right place, the verse makes a lot of sense. “For unto every one that hath [the ability to reason] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hat not [the ability to reason] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” … in other words, the person, through his own laziness, becomes a slave to whomever he turns his reasoning ability over to: in this discussion, to the drug industry.

We’ve incarnated into a wonderful life here on earth, with oodles of chances to enjoy ourselves and at the same time grow in compassion and love. Don’t screw it up!

The Revolution

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The Eternal Wheel

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  ― Albert Einstein

Did you ever have an incident—or like in my case, a movie film—that happened way back in your early days, and in all these years, you’re unable to completely erase it from your memory? Well, this film—and this was way back when black and white movies were still in vogue—left one of those indelible impressions on me. I forget most of the details, but I can’t forget the theme of that movie! I’ll call the movie, “The Revolution.” The actual movie could have been produced under a different title, but that title, “The Revolution,” certainly fit the theme I’m talking about, so I’ll use it for my story. Also, as I already mentioned, I forget many details, so I’ll use a lot of license in telling the story—not that it really matters, since it’s all fiction anyway—or is it?

Although this same story has been told, and retold, many times throughout our history, I’ll place my particular story in the meridian of our history—let’s say, some time just after gunpowder, cannons, bombs, pistols and long guns had been invented. The world was once again in a chaotic, violent state, only this time, with the new invention of gunpowder, we were able to kill more people in just one big explosion, and we could now more easily tear flesh from bone than we could with the now outdated sword and spear.

As I said, this fabled country that I speak of, was once again bathed in hate and violence. Horrific wrongs were committed on both sides, when brother turned against brother, and revenge was touted as the only solution to this feud!

This all started when a certain political activist—let’s call him, Adam Justica—decried the injustice that the reigning ruler was brutally imposing on the country’s citizens. At first, his voice was almost alone: most people were to busy scraping together enough money to live on, let alone think about a revolution. But Adam Justica was persistent, and since he was charismatic and had a flare for creating rousing, dramatic speech—rabble rousing, some official government leaders would call it today—wherever he went in the land, he started gathering a following.

Justice! Justice!” became the rallying mantra as hundreds, then thousands of chanting rebels—rabble? Said the government —took to the streets in protest against the injustices of the day.

At first, the then reigning ruler ignored the small, newly formed upstart group, hoping that, when they got hungry, they’d get tired of their protest marches and go back to their homes. But that wasn’t about to happen!

Soon thousands turned into tens of thousands, finally causing more than a little concern for the reigning ruler, concerns that he could no longer ignore. In a public broadcast, the ruler pronounced the rebels as a rag-tag, illegal bunch of hoodlum outlaws and declared open warfare against them.

But victory—if it could even be considered possible by now—wouldn’t be easy!

Adam Justica’s protesters had grown into an impressive force, and he was quick to see an opportunity here and gain even more notoriety in his fight for justice. He promoted himself to General Adam Justica, armed and organized his rebel protesters with the latest weapons, then marched against the capital. Women and children—at least those who were still able to—fled the city in terror, fearing for their lives.

The battle that followed was fierce and ugly and lasted many days. Thousands on both sides of the camp were brutally slaughtered and by now, hardly a building was left unscarred, or not splattered with the blood of the combatants. Then, on the twelfth day of the battle, it was a smoke-filled morning, General Adam Justica emerged high above the noise and gunfire to plant firmly on the still smouldering debris of what was once the country’s beautiful parliament buildings, to raise his own, newly designed flag and triumphantly shout,

We have won! Victory is ours! Justice is ours!”

In the coming years the land settled back into a relative normal routine. Guns were turned back into the proverbial plow shears and the citizens became more preoccupied with every day affairs of love, marriage, and going on vacation then they were with justice. New, more modern buildings sprung up out of the heaps of rubble that had, prior to the revolution, been thriving cities, and the story of “The War to End All Wars” was soon downgraded to only stories told in school history books. New parliament buildings, whose structural beauty and design challenged the creativeness of the best architects in the land, were built over the old parliamentary ruins. The sun shone again, the birds sang, heaven seemed to have descended upon the earth!

Justice had been firmly established! The country was at peace!

Then one fateful day in the New People’s Parliament—I believe it was the two hundred and tenth semi-annual session, one of the People’s Representative stood up to address the Assembly.

“Esteemed People’s Representatives,” he began,” many of my constituents have complained that much of their tax money from our area has been illegally removed from our coffers and is being used to pay off the debts and exorbitant living of a neighboring township. I believe that is the same township that you, General Justica, have your residence in. Could we, form a committee –”

Silence!” General Adam Justica sprang to his feet and in a great, dramatic show of indignation, drew his pistol and shot the offending Representative. “Enough!” he shouted. We’ll have no talk of government unfairness ruining the image of our hard-won battle for justice!” the General fairly screamed his outrage at the remaining People’s Representatives who shrank low into their plush seats, fearing one of them might be targeted next. “Have you forgotten how many of our beloved comrades died and sacrificed much in our fight for justice for all? I’ll have no disgruntled upstart dare to stand and question these rules of justice for all!” He turned his glare onto the limp, dead body of the Representative. “You are a traitor to your country!

The sound of the general’s gunshots quickly—ever so decisively—vibrated throughout the land, finally settling in on an old, giant, rotting wooden wheel that lay nearly buried in the murky, stinky mire of the cold, sinister depths of a haunted bog near the edge of the country, a bog so disgusting to human consciousness that no sane citizen of the land wanted to talk about.

If one squinted and looked carefully, the single word, “JUSTICE,” had been carved into its rim by some ancient general whose name was now long forgotten, but could still be seen through the wisps of steam rising off the bog.

At first, upon hearing the gunshot, the rotting wheel just gave an almost imperceptible shiver of protest, even a faint whimper could be heard. After several years of anticipated peace, the wheel hoped—oh God, how it hoped—that it could finally rest forever—maybe even die and have its morbid history erased for ever from the consciousness of creation. But that was not its lot! Forced by the laws of an ancient curse placed on it during another civilization’s time, or by gods and generals whose names are now forgotten, it painfully rose out of the steaming, dank bog and started—once again—its relentless roll across the land.

Justice! Justice! Justice!” it chanted at every agonizing completion of a role!

ADDENDUM:

Will humanity ever find peace and real justice through violent protest? In fact, do we even have an alternative to violence, or are we, ourselves The Wheel I speak of; burdened with an ancient curse placed upon us by some higher, evil force; doomed to cycle forever through times of war, then, out of sheer, sadistic mockery, offered a brief moment of peace only to rise again and make war?

Our Holy Books tell us there is hope. They remind us constantly that we are more! That we’re made of star dust; of royal lineage—the same lineage that the gods and the universe itself is made of. So why do we seem so incapable of shrugging off that evil curse and live like the gods themselves live; in peace, self-empowerment and true justice?

Remember … remember who we really are, and abandon the ancient curse of The Wheel!